Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
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Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Erich Lederer, Drawing on the Floor (recto); Erich Lederer in Profile, Hand to Head (verso)

Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Erich Lederer, Drawing on the Floor (recto);
Erich Lederer in Profile, Hand to Head (verso)
signed and dated 'Egon Schiele 1912' (centre right)
watercolour and pencil on paper (recto); pencil on paper (verso)
12½ x 19 in. (31.7 x 48.2 cm.)
Executed in 1912
Erich Lederer, Vienna & Geneva (no. 20).
Elisabeth Lederer, Geneva, by descent from the above.
Private collection, New York, by whom acquired in 1999. Acquired from the above by the present owner.
A. Comini, Egon Schiele's Portraits, Berkeley, 1974 (illustrated pl. 101).
A. Comini, Egon Schiele, New York, 1976 (illustrated pl. 16).
G. Malafarina, L'Opera di Egon Schiele, Milan, 1982, no. D51.
C.M. Nebehay, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele und die Familie Lederer, Bern, 1987, p. 68.
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, London, 1998, no. 1002, p. 464 (illustrated).
New York, Neue Galerie, Egon Schiele: the Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections, October 2005 - February 2006, no. D97, p. 266 (illustrated).
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Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas
Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas

Lot Essay

'The boy I am painting is 15 years old, with a long, aristocratic face. He is a born painter, and draws also, like Beardsley, only he has never observed nature, and that is his misfortune' (Egon Schiele, 'Letter to Arthur Roessler', quoted in A Comini, Egon Schiele's Portraits, Berkeley, California, 1974, p. 114).

Erich Lederer am Boden zeichnend is one of a series of portrait studies that Schiele made in preparation for his oil portrait of Erich Lederer, now in the Kunstmuseum Basel, in the last weeks of 1912. In the winter of 1912, Schiele had been invited to the home of the Lederer family in Györ in order to paint Erich Lederer and it was there that the artist struck up a close and enduring friendship with the fifteen-year-old son of these important patrons.

Erich Lederer was himself to become one of Schiele's most important patrons and champions of his art, persuading his parents to acquire hundreds of works from Schiele and, long after the artist's premature death in 1918, working hard to promote his legacy and reputation. As can be seen in this work, Erich Lederer, like his mother Serena who had previously studied under Klimt's tutelage, was also a keen draughtsman and soon after his meeting with Schiele, undertook drawing lessons from the young artist. Schiele was much impressed by Lederer's talent and actively encouraged him to pursue a career as a painter, though Lederer recalled late in life that, as a boy of fifteen and fascinated by all things erotic, it was primarily to gain access to Schiele's models as much as it had been to learn drawing that he went frequently to Schiele's studio at this time.

In this work, Schiele depicts the young Lederer crouched on the floor intently concentrating on his drawing. This was an activity that Lederer would often pursue while Schiele was in Gyr studying him for his portrait. Indeed, an accomplished portrait drawing of Schiele by Lederer also derives from this period. Lederer's unself-conscious position on the floor is brilliantly conveyed in Schiele's watercolour, using only two single pencil lines; one standing for a wall against which Lederer's foot is leaning, the other for the edge of the paper on which he is drawing.

On the verso of the work there is also a pencil sketch of Erich Lederer in profile with one hand raised to his head.

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